Sunday, December 6, 2015

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Weekly Notes (Books, Lessons, Freebies and More) 11/20/15

Books, lessons, and freebies.  Here is a treat for you this Thanksgiving.  I hope you are either already on vacation or just two school days away from a much needed break.

Book of the Week
I've been revisiting an old book Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg.  After a 5-year hiatus from writing, I am finally trying to get over the fear I've felt of the page.  I've enjoyed putting words on paper again and this book is inspiring me to get over myself and get on the page.

Lesson of the Week
This week I like to focus on poetry.  It is a week filled with activity and poetry is quick and easy. These 4 poems by Jack Prelutsky will get everyone in the holiday mood and reflecting on their Thanksgiving Traditions.  You can get this November A Poem Each Week for FREE.

Fabulous Friday Freebie
My wonderful friend, Erin Shurbutt from Snazzy in Second made these wonderful Properties of Addition posters.  I love how I can use these at centers and have them on the walls.  A little velcro on the back makes them easy to move.

My Favorite Pin of the Week
This bread!  This will be an appetizer for my Thanksgiving Day.  I can't wait.  

Recipe of the Week
About a year ago my husband and I completed Whole 30.  We have spent the past year trying to stick to the 80/20 rule.  80% of the time we follow Whole 30 and the other 205 we eat what we want. One of the staple meals we fix is Paleo Italian Meatballs from Tastes of Lizzy T's. This makes a lot of food and we are set for lunches, dinners, and snacks.  In the recipe you can find the link for the a sauce and how to cook spaghetti squash.

Finding Time for Me
After a 20 year hiatus from the high school swim team, I dove back into the pool.  I hate working out. I hate running, and watching the clock, I hate gym class teachers who are super excited about working out and want me to yell and count.  But, I love water.  Today I got over myself, put my 1 year old in the gym daycare and did laps in the pool.  I feel great!  My entire body feels alive.  I was alone for 25 minutes with nothing but myself and a pool.  The only sounds were my breath and splashing and my brain actually relaxed.  To top if off, I hopped in the hot tub for 5 minutes and was able to shower and put my make up on without someone wanting to be held or play with my brushes. This will be my thing.  My 25 minutes of silence.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Teaching Poetry

Don't leave, we have moved but you can still get this free download!  Just hop on over to my new site. You will find plenty of free lessons and ideas on poetry, classroom management, and more!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

The #1 Way to Reduce Stress

I've struggled with stress, and anxiety for years.  I have this compulsive need to be perfect and if I can't do it perfectly then I just sit around and worry about it.

After lots of research, and talking with others I have discovered the truth to reducing stress.

You must find what makes YOU happy and do it.  

The other night I received a text for a friend asking me if I was going to make our monthly book club.  I told her I wasn't.  A. I hadn't read the book and B. I thought it was the week before when I had food poisoning and one of the kids had yet another virus.

She responded with, "Find time to go to the beach."

Well, of course, I couldn't do that.  But it got me thinking about making something "like" that happen. So the next morning I packed the gym bag.  I dropped the 3-year-old off at preschool and for the first time I took the 1-year old to the gym with me.

I put on the only swimsuit I had and dove into the pool.  I swam laps for the first time since high school swim team.  It wasn't perfect, but it was me alone in the water.  The only sounds were my breathing and the splashing.  For 25 minutes I had no stresses, no worries, and a peace literally and figuratively washed over me.

I topped off my swim with a few minutes in the sauna.  With my eyes closed, and my swimsuit on I could imagine that I just finished a swim in the ocean and it was a hot summer day.  I had actually found time to "go to the beach."

I left with the gym with a happy kid who had fun playing with other kids his age, a bag full of wet clothes, and a whole new attitude about how to face my day without stress.

Today, I went back and while I swam laps I reflected on happiness.  For years I had tried to do what worked in making others happy.  Not once did I think about what made me happy.  I hate running, I hate gym classes with peppy instructors, and I hate watching a clock.  But the sound and sight of a pool, a lake, an ocean, or even a creek calms me.  I love hot summer days where you walk outside and it's like a big fluffy blanket surrounds you.

I learned that finding time to do what makes me happy (or my own version of it) can give me the brain power to tackle my day without the needless worry and stress.  You might not be able to lunch at a European cafe, or relax at a spa.  But a bistro table on the back patio or a nice bath with candles may be what you need to get that feel.  It may be just the not-so-perfect way to get exactly what you need.

So what about you? Is stress taking over you day?  Have you found what makes you happy?  What ways have you tweaked what you need in order to fit it into your daily world?

Photo: Puhha/dollar Photo Club

Friday, November 13, 2015

Weekly Notes to Simply Your Life - 11/13/15

Happy Friday the 13th.  I always like to start new things on Friday the 13th.  Hey I came into this world on a Friday the 13th and I thought that was a pretty lucky day.  I decided today would be a great day to start my weekly notes series.  Each Friday I will share with you some of the things that worked (and some of those that didn't work) in hopes of simplifying your week.  So let's get started.

Book of the Week
This week I am rereading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo for the 100th time.  It is going to be the first book in the new Teacher Book Club series that I am hosting on Facebook.  More details will be coming this week. The main goal is to house a place where you can share and get ideas on using books for read alouds and guided reading.

Lesson of the Week
Want to learn more about creating character?  Check out the video below.  You can also access the handouts here.

Fabulous Friday Freebie
I found this fantastic book in Jennifer Gibbon's Teaching with Grace Teachers Pay Teachers store.  It was such a joy to sit with my daughter and color and read together.  I was amazed at how much she has learned at her preschool this year.  Each week it is loads more.  This Emergent Reader Alphabet Book was the perfect resource for her to show what she knows and for the two of us to explore new letters.

My Favorite Pin of the Week
I am hosting Thanksgiving for my family this year and I am dying to try to put this centerpiece together. This may become a Pinterest fail, but I am going to try it out.  I will share my findings with you.
You can also check out the blog post here.

Recipe of the Week
My family's all time favorite meal is Italian Chicken.  I love it most of all because it is quick and easy.  The kids can help me and it is minimal mess and time out of my busy day.  I found it on pinterest and only in the comments.  I added the link because there were other good meals but here it is:
 4 chicken breasts
1 packet Zesty Italian dressing seasoning
 8 oz. cream cheese (softened)
2 cans cream of chicken soup
Cook on low for 4 hours. 
If sauce is too thick, add a little milk. Serve over pasta. 

Finding Time for Me
So one of the biggest things I have been working on lately is to find a little me time.  After repeated recommendations, I finally started watching Parenthood on Netflix.  Ahh, a show that is real to what it is like.  No I don't have a big family, no I don't live in the same town as my family, but yes they show the hardships and the reality what my life is like.  I find myself In many of the characters.  And it's nice to find a show that can move me to laughter and tears and not to my iPad or computer.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How I Found Time to Meditate

October - a month filled with tricks and treats.  I have always loved October with it's blue skies and chilly mornings.  I love watching the leaves turn bright yellow and orange, and I love football.

This October, however, has provided more tricks than treats.  My oldest (age 3) is refusing to poop. Sixteen days is the record and she is currently on day 10 of new withhold.  In the middle of that both kids got the croup.  A croup which hung on until it brought pneumonia and an ear infection.

In response to this, I invited a dear friend over for dinner Friday night.  We stayed at the table talking while my husband took the kids to shower and get ready for bed. As we enjoyed a glass of wine and good conversation, we heard the sound of dripping water.  Yep, the upstairs shower was draining into the kitchen sink.  That put a pretty abrupt end to everyone's night.

On Saturday morning, my husband took the kids to the gym so I could actually enjoy getting ready and dry my hair (a rare feat these days). I had to shower in the kids Jack and Jill bathroom.  I was actually looking forward to a small, quiet room with no windows.  I turned off the lights, shut the door, and enjoyed the silence.  I was feeling refreshed and ready to take on the rest of October.  And you know what?  The door was locked.  Yep, when we replaced the door knobs somehow this one got placed backwards, and my son who loves to push buttons, locked it.

The next hour was spent sitting on the floor of my now sauna waiting for my husband and kids to get home.  I had time to panic, time to try to pull the door open, and then time to relax and just be. During my time I came to realize that my kiddos weren't sick at all last year, and even though they coughed a lot it didn't seem to interfere with their days.  I realized that my youngest is doing great with his fine-motor skills since he could lock the door, and my husband was wonderful enough to take them so I could have a few (well more than I expected) minutes alone.  And on top of it all, I had time to relax and meditate.  Time to realize that we all have our own crazy worlds.  Worlds that sometimes keep going opposite of the road we have planned. But the goal is to keep pushing through because soon those blue skies and sick-free days will return.  (And hopefully with a new non-leaking shower!)

Hope your Halloween is filled with treats! 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Sneak-A-Peek with a Peach: My At-Home Classroom

The past few years my classroom has become my playroom.  Check out my post on the Primary Peach to see how I turned to playroom into a toddler classroom.

Monday, August 31, 2015

September A Poem Each Week

 Click to Access this FREE September A Poem Each Week resource. 

Don't leave, we have moved but you can still get this free download!  Just hop on over to my new site. You will find plenty of free lessons and ideas on poetry, classroom management, and more!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Notes to My Children - #1

I have never been great about documenting the lives of my children.  I tried to be one of those on top of it moms who had monthly photos of my kids, but after month 3 time got away from me.  With my second kid he got photos on my phone but nothing with a monthly sticker on his chest.  Heck, the only reason he has a photo up in the house is that his preschool made me a framed picture for Mother's Day.  I don't have height charts, or files of artwork, and I definitely don't have monthly pregnancy pictures.  That, however, doesn't mean I don't love my children.

At night when everyone is asleep I lay in bed thinking of all of the things I should tell my children. The words I should say during the day, but get lost in the busy shuffle of the day.  And at 18 months, and 3 years, they might not sit to hear or understand them all.  I decided to write them monthly notes so they know all of the things I want for them.  Here is the first installment of Notes to My Children.

Dear G and Beni,

The most important thing you need to know is that you are loved.  You are loved through the temper tantrums and the early morning wake-ups.  You are loved while you refuse to eat, or get dressed, or go to the potty.  You are loved in every second of the day.

From the moment I held you both, you were loved fiercely.  Each of you have your own story.  G girl you decided to arrive 2 weeks early. Being early has been the theme to your first 3 years of life.  You were early to walk, to climb, to swing upside down on the bars, to sing your favorite songs, and to question the ways of the world.  Beni, you came on the day we chose, New Year's Eve.  You have spent your 18 months doing everything as planned.  As long as you are "up" you are content with the ways of the world.

Your hugs, kisses, snuggles, and words motivate me to be the best mother I can be.  I am blessed to have two wonderful people enter my world.   You amaze me day in and day out with your love for others, your passion for learning, and your zest for life.

Always know that you are loved.


Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Assess Me Link-Up Week 1

Today I am linking up with The Tattooed Teacher for the Assess Me Link-Up.

I loved the idea of this link-up.  10 quick, easy questions about myself.  I feel many days in the world of 2 toddlers that I don't think about myself and I was super excited to be able to check "yes" on taking a shower AND drying my hair and "no" to having the TV on. 

I went to Disney as a kid and then again for New Years 2000.  Figured if Y2K was going to happen, I might as well be in a happy place.  This coming year I am taking my kids, and I am so excited to see Disney through their eyes.  I know it will be a crazy, exhausting trip, but the memories will be well worth it.  If anyone has ever gone with a 3-year-old and/or 2-year-old, please give me tips on making it easy on all of us!  

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Plan With Me Sunday - Back to School Edition

This Sunday I am linking up with Keeping Up with Mrs. Harris and Kreative in Kindergarten again for Plan With Me Sundays - Back to School Edition. This week there is a special giveaway so be sure to check it out!

Let me start this week off with a little note. My husband was in San Francisco working and we decided to bring our daughter out here for her third birthday. We have seals, and museums, and trolley rides planned. But what didn't make it in my planner was that the hotel internet wouldn't work and my daughter would be up at 4:45 because her little body thinks it's almost 8am which is well past her wake up time. 

That being said my Sunday post is starting a little later.  so without further ado, Plan with Me Sunday - Back to School Edition. 

This time of year always seems to be a whirlwind.  I used to be so good at keeping up with everything, but after two pregnancies my brain is shot and if it isn't written down, then it doesn't happen.  To start the school year, I want to be sure my that my planner is ready to go so I can keep on top of everything.  I like keeping my planner in a 3 ring binder. The pages and my writing are big enough for my aging eyes to see at a distance. Plus, I love being able to take pages out when they are accomplished. 

I think this week's post will work best as a To-Do-List (one I can put in my planner!)

1. Print all months starting with August.  In my opinion August 1st is the real New Year's Day.

2. Behind each month I add the correct number of Weekly Schedules.  I will use 2 pens to keep my worlds separate (blue for home and pink for school).
3. Behind each week, I add a sheet of paper for my grocery list.  I can't tell you the number of times I have remembered something I needed at home in the middle of a lesson. Plus there is always something I need for the classroom.

4. I print a few Daily Schedules for those days that are just too much.

5. I type all of my lesson plans on my computer, but they have to be ready in a flash.  I print these and place them behind my weekly schedule. 90% of the time, if I have written my plans out well enough, I won't have to look at them again that week. But they are there for the 10% of the time I forget something and those moments when someone walks in the room.

6. I have dividers with pockets. This way I don't lose any loose papers or that paperwork that must get back to the office, parent, ASAP!  I keep all of my faculty meeting and professional development notes in the back of my binder. That way I have all of that information to quickly reference.

7. I also design products for TPT and blog. Those sections are in the back of my binder. Many times my ideas for blog posts come as I plan or teach so I can quickly note these in my planner until I have time to write. 

I love that my planner, the Hello Planner from the 3am Teacher, allows me the ability to keep all of my worlds in one place.  What things do you add to your planners to

And now the fun part, the giveaway.  Enter below to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Throwback Thursday

Today on the link-up with Freebilicious we are taking a look back at older posts.  Since I just recently started focusing on my blog I don't have that many great posts to share.  This one I liked because it's one of my favorite teaching stories.


Why I Teach

There are times (especially when I get my paycheck) that I question "Why do I teach?"  Why did I choose a job that follows me home, wakes me at night, and has me reviewing the day as I shower, dry my hair, and drive to work.

Each and every time I question my choice, I get to school and find the answer, in the "I Got It!" moments, the smiles, and my coworkers.

A few years ago in the middle of independent reading, I had one of my best moments.  It was the first week of school and I was setting up the procedure of independent reading.  When I do this I have all students reading at the same time (later in the year this changes), and as they are reading, I model by reading as well.  One student was having difficulty staying focused and kept talking to his neighbor.  I had corrected him once and on the second occurrence asked him to return to his seat.

He came up to me with something in his hand and held it out for me to take.  I hesitated, not 100% sure what was being placed in my hand, but curiosity won over and I held my hand out for the "gift."  Into my palm dropped a peppermint.  The student smiled up at me and said, "Keep up the good work, and there's more where that came from."

And that is why I teach.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Back 2 School Procedures and Policies - Do They Know What You Expect?

This article has moved to the new site. 

The #1 Way to Improve Student Behavior


Don't leave, we have moved but you can still get this free download!  Just hop on over to my new site. You will find plenty of free lessons and ideas on poetry, classroom management, and more!  

Monday, July 20, 2015

Must Have Monday

Today I have the pleasure of linking up with Lidia from Kinder Alphabet and Krissy from Mrs. Miner's Monkey Business for Must Have Monday!  I am going to share with you the things I have to have in order to create a successful classroom atmosphere.

1. My Sharpies - I love Sharpies.  I love the smell, the pure, deep color and the the way I feel productive at the end of the day when I still have a Sharpie stain on my fingers.   There are so many colors to fit my mood each day.  I began my teaching career before lesson plans were typed, and everyone had e-mail.  My Sharpies were and still are some of my best creation tools.

2. Sharpened Pencils - One of the best teacher gifts I ever received was a bouquet of sharpened pencils on the first day of school.  When I get in my classroom at the beginning of the year the first thing I do is sharpen my pencils.  The smell of sharpened pencils gets my brain working and I can start creating ideas.  The pencils give me freedom of mistakes and the ability to erase what I don't like.  This summer I splurged and bought a box of skinny Kate Spade pencils.  Yes, I know it was a ridiculous waste of money, but they came in a perfect storage box and I will definitely know when one of my students has "borrowed" one of my pencils.

3. Grading Pens - I love fine point pens in a multitude of colors.  I use these pens when I grade and pick the color I like best that day.  I love that these pens make it easy to write important notes and information that the students can easily find.

4. Coffee - I don't think I could teach without my morning coffee. And in the world of a mom and teacher, coffee isn't a sit down and drink at one time event.  I again got carried away and got the Kate Spade coffee mug that is covered in books.  For the girl working to get her own school library soon, it is the perfect way to start my day.  And, it keeps my coffee warm all morning!

What things must you have?  Join me tomorrow for Tell Us About You Tuesday!


Sunday, July 12, 2015

Plan With Me Sundays - Downsizing

Planning, to-do lists, and organizing are all things I LOVE to do.  However, they are also the things that keep me from getting things done.  I just spent the last few days at the Teachers Pay Teachers conference and one of the biggest takeaways came from Chris Kesler of Kesler Science.  He referenced a book called The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan.  I couldn't resist a new read, so I downloaded it on my iBooks and started reading.  The book talks about the one thing you should put your energy into each day.  For me a stay-at-home mom who blogs and creates products for Teachers Pay Teachers I have a lot of directions to go each day.  Here is a look at my week last week.

My heart is pounding out of my check just looking at this!  I had no clear direction and the daily stress to get it done was overwhelming.  My take for now is that each day I need one focus.  Today my one thing is getting my house back in order. This may be why I am writing this sitting on the bathroom floor while one kid is going to the potty and the other one is doing the buckles on his high chair for the 4 millionth time.  Tomorrow, I have a babysitter coming in the morning and that will be my creation time.  I am not leaving to go to a coffee shop.  I am going to sit at my desk and create.  I moved my collaboration time with Snazzy in Second to a Goggle Hangout where I could meet and talk with her during nap time.  And with the screen share option on Google Hangout, I can show her everything I wanted on the computer.  This way I can focus on talking with her without feeling the stress of creating and vice versa.  Here is my plan for this week.

Yes, it isn't just one thing, but for a planner like me I am taking small steps. This one is a list that I feel I can complete!  To help keep my mom brain in order I made a Weekly List separate from the what I was doing each day so I wouldn't forget some of the little things my family needed or things for me to work on that didn't have to get done.  (Thank you DRG ceramics for my favorite mug.)

My next step for planning this week is to get a grasp on social media.  I have felt swamped with social media and the need to learn and use it all.  But guess what, I don't have to do it all.  Such a simple thought for some people but for me this was a huge ah ha moment.  I have downsized a lot of my social media.  Instagram and Facebook are easy for me.  I have created a list of hashtags in my notes section of my phone (thank you Miss Kindergarten and Apple and ABC's for that tip), and then I can just copy and paste any I need.

I have been doing the free trial of tailwind for Pinterest and made the leap to the paid version. Now, Pinterest can be a once a week thing and keep me from scrolling and making notes and then forgetting to pin in my prime hours.  Twitter has scared me for a while and it's the one I know the least about.  I want to learn more about it and Twitter is now going be my learning zone, not a focus for my week.

On my planner I noted times to check and post to FB and Instagram and days to focus on pinning and learning twitter.  Now I don't feel the need to have my phone in hand all day.

There you have it, my ways to plan less and do more.  What tips have you found to help reduce planning and time on social media?  I need to keep downsizing my daily list.

Happy Sunday! 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Plan With Me Sundays

About a week ago we were heading home from the beach and I felt stressed.  I needed organization and I needed it quickly.  Luckily, I came across a blog post titled Plan With Me Sundays by Keeping Up With Mrs. Harris.  She and Kreative in Kindergarten had started a link up about planning and it was the perfect thing for me.  After reading the first post in the link from Keeping Up With Mrs. Harris, I came home and bought the Hello Teacher Planner from the 3am Teacher.  What a life saver! Now instead of notebooks, post-it notes, and piles; I have everything in one spot.  I even have all of my Teachers Pay Teachers Vegas conference notes printed and in the notebook!

I then got my office organized and set up in a way that I could see the house, see outside, and enjoy my new blue walls with white trim.  I even managed to set up a space for Gabriella to "do her work." We even took the time to place her notebook and pens where her little brother couldn't reach them.

Everything I couldn't put in my notebook or I had on the multitude of post-it notes (which would mysteriously disappear) are now on a spreadsheet in my google drive.  No more disappearing.  Plus, I get satisfaction out of deleting something I have accomplished and having more white space on the screen.  Thursday night the list of things on the left was all the way down to 32!  Ecstatic that the list is up to where I can see it all at once!

Two years ago I took the leap from teaching for 15 years to being a stay-at-home mom.  I have had the hardest time going from knowing that I ate lunch at 11:52 to figuring out how to fit it in between the laundry, kid lunches, and the numerous things that just don't happen at home.

When I made this leap I had a 10-month-old and another one quickly on his way.  I have also tried to keep up my teachers pay teachers store, my blog, run a house, clean a house, keep a blog, and finish my EdS in School Library Media and Instructional Technology.

The degree is now done and I am finding my way through the laundry and dishes back to my blog and store.  Thankfully Plan With Me Sundays have given me the opportunity to make time to focus on organizing the Zannini household, my blog, and my store.  I want a give a special thank you to all of your who have shared your planning ideas and allowed me to find my way back to this lovely space!

This week I head to Vegas for the TPT conference and my plan for next Sunday is to organize a way to maintain my social media.

Happy Sunday! 

Friday, July 3, 2015

Clip Art Thank You!

I also wanted to thank Educlips for the fabulous graphics used in my header!  I love her work and use it in many of my new products.  Check out her store and blog!  Plus I love that she is a Charleston girl like I was at one time in my life.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

My New Design!

After years of playing around trying to figure out designing a blog, I finally admitted defeat!  I searched for awhile trying to find help and found Kassie from  I couldn't be happier with my decision!  By answering a few questions and doing a little research, I was able to give her answers to made this blog me.  When I arrive at the page it feels like home.  I've spent almost 40 years buying notebooks and pens to journal.  Well, no more!  This is my ultimate notebook.  I hope you find the new design easy to use and that it helps you find resources and tips to help your kids thrive!

Monday, June 29, 2015

New Design Coming Soon!

I am so excited! I am working with Designs by Kassie to create a design that reflects my work! I've seen a sample and I feel like a kid waiting on Christmas to have it all in place! 

You can also follow me now on Bloglovin'. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dare To Dream

I have spent the past two weeks following the Teachers Pay Teachers Seller Challenge and this week's challenge was Dare to Dream.  This week I am focusing on why I even sit here at the table during my family vacation working on products for Teachers Pay Teachers.

The first reason is that it is fun!  Writing lesson plans to me is like playing Candy Crush is to other people.  It's fun and challenging and makes my brain work.  I also like the fact that Teachers Pay Teachers had allowed me to continue doing what I love (teaching) while staying at home with my kids.  I currently have an almost 3-year-old and an 18-month old.  They make finding time to work a challenge, but I like having something that keeps my brain engaged.  It's fun to do the math and realize that if every teacher who bought my poetry unit taught 25 kids and only taught the unit ONE time that almost 100,000 kids have learned poetry through my plans and ideas!

I have asked for a horse for every birthday and Christmas for almost 40 years.  I recently started riding again because my 2 year old fell in love with horses and had the confidence to start riding.  I'd love to be able to let my TPT funds help both of us live a dream once I go back into the classroom.

I believe that what happens outside of the classroom is just as important as what happens in the classroom.  I want my children to explore interests and I love that Teachers Pay Teachers allows for me to be a stay-at-home mom and pay for them to ride horses, take gymnastics, and learn music.  I love that I can pay for these things and it not put any further burden on my husband being the main income.  I've been able to pay for babysitting and small vacations, and my dog's trips to the groomer.
Having two babies 17 months apart has meant that I spent a lot of my time in yoga pants.  Yoga pants are wonderful for playing on the floors, being covered in drool and spit up and the hours spent potty training.  As much as I love my yoga pants I am ready to either A. get better yoga pants or B. venture to buying clothes that will withstand the minor hurricanes that toddlers bring.  I want to be able to buy something every now and then that reminds me that I am me and not just a stay-at-home mom.